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RAF’s new hi-tech, £9billion jets complete their first missions across Syria and Iraq 

Struck by Lightnings! RAF’s new hi-tech, £9billion jets complete their first missions across Syria and Iraq

  • F-35 Lightning jets carried out 14 sorties in past ten days in hunt for remains of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq
  • Most advanced stealth aircraft in the world and capable of reaching top speed of more than 1,200mph
  • Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt visited some of the jets at RAF Akrotiri, in Greece, yesterday
  • She said F-35s are ‘most advanced jets’ UK has had and will form ‘backbone of British air defence for decades’
  • Aircraft from 617 Squadron – the wartime Dambusters – have flown over corridor of land across Iraq and Syria 

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Britain’s newest fighter jets have taken part in their first operational missions – rooting out the remnants of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

The supersonic F-35 Lightnings have carried out 14 sorties in the past ten days as part of the hunt for the remains of the extremist group.

The jets are the most advanced stealth aircraft in the world, capable of reaching a top speed of more than 1,200mph.

Britain’s newest fighter jets have taken part in their first operational missions – rooting out the remnants of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq

The supersonic F-35 Lightnings have carried out 14 sorties in the past ten days as part of the hunt for the remains of the extremist group

The supersonic F-35 Lightnings have carried out 14 sorties in the past ten days as part of the hunt for the remains of the extremist group

The jets are the most advanced stealth aircraft in the world, capable of reaching a top speed of more than 1,200mph

The jets are the most advanced stealth aircraft in the world, capable of reaching a top speed of more than 1,200mph

They can travel at eight miles a minute and carry 500lb Paveway IV bombs as well as air-to-air missiles. They are also capable of a short take- off and vertical landing

They can travel at eight miles a minute and carry 500lb Paveway IV bombs as well as air-to-air missiles. They are also capable of a short take- off and vertical landing

After a number of successful training flights from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, it was decided to deploy them on operational missions, starting on June 16

After a number of successful training flights from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, it was decided to deploy them on operational missions, starting on June 16

They can travel at eight miles a minute and carry 500lb Paveway IV bombs as well as air-to-air missiles. They are also capable of a short take- off and vertical landing.

After a number of successful training flights from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, it was decided to deploy them on operational missions, starting on June 16.

Pairs of aircraft from 617 Squadron – the wartime Dambusters – have since flown over a large corridor of land across Iraq and Syria, where IS insurgents are still active.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt, visiting RAF Akrotiri, said yesterday: 'The F-35s are the most advanced jets our country has ever possessed and will form the backbone of British air defence for decades to come'. Above: Ms Mordaunt sits in one of the jets

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt, visiting RAF Akrotiri, said yesterday: ‘The F-35s are the most advanced jets our country has ever possessed and will form the backbone of British air defence for decades to come’. Above: Ms Mordaunt sits in one of the jets

Ms Mordaunt added: 'They have passed every test their training has thrown at them with flying colours and their first real operational mission is a significant step into the future for the UK'. Above: Ms Mordaunt sits in the imposing plane

Ms Mordaunt added: ‘They have passed every test their training has thrown at them with flying colours and their first real operational mission is a significant step into the future for the UK’. Above: Ms Mordaunt sits in the imposing plane

Islamic State, or Daesh, has lost its territory in Syria and Iraq – once covering 34,000sq miles – but insurgents still remain and Miss Mordaunt, who posed in a F-35 cockpit yesterday, said we still had to 'finish the job'

Islamic State, or Daesh, has lost its territory in Syria and Iraq – once covering 34,000sq miles – but insurgents still remain and Miss Mordaunt, who posed in a F-35 cockpit yesterday, said we still had to ‘finish the job’

The F-35s are using their sophisticated electronics to search for and identify IS targets, though they have not yet unleashed any of their firepower.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt, visiting RAF Akrotiri, said yesterday: ‘The F-35s are the most advanced jets our country has ever possessed and will form the backbone of British air defence for decades to come.

‘They have passed every test their training has thrown at them with flying colours and their first real operational mission is a significant step into the future for the UK.’

Islamic State, or Daesh, has lost its territory in Syria and Iraq – once covering 34,000sq miles – but insurgents still remain and Miss Mordaunt, who posed in a F-35 cockpit yesterday, said we still had to ‘finish the job’. 

Speaking of Daesh, Ms Mordaunt said: 'The fight against Daesh is not over. They're still a threat. They're a threat in the region and clearly their networks are a threat elsewhere in the world'. Above: Ms Mordaunt meets the commanding officer of the squadron, John Butcher (centre), and Group Captain Jonny Moreton (left)

Speaking of Daesh, Ms Mordaunt said: ‘The fight against Daesh is not over. They’re still a threat. They’re a threat in the region and clearly their networks are a threat elsewhere in the world’. Above: Ms Mordaunt meets the commanding officer of the squadron, John Butcher (centre), and Group Captain Jonny Moreton (left) 

The UK currently has 17 F-35Bs but has pledged to purchase 138. The programme to buy the first batch of 48 has come under fire over its £9.1billion cost. Above: Ms Mordaunt prepares to step down from the impressive jet

The UK currently has 17 F-35Bs but has pledged to purchase 138. The programme to buy the first batch of 48 has come under fire over its £9.1billion cost. Above: Ms Mordaunt prepares to step down from the impressive jet

She added: ‘The fight against Daesh is not over. They’re still a threat. They’re a threat in the region and clearly their networks are a threat elsewhere in the world.

‘That’s why, as well as making sure these fantastic capabilities are working well and that we are using them well, we have to also think about what next.’

The UK currently has 17 F-35Bs but has pledged to purchase 138. The programme to buy the first batch of 48 has come under fire over its £9.1billion cost.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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